Upcoming Meetings

Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

Earlier this month, a poll was sent to CAPA members for feedback regarding attendance at in-person meetings. The results are telling:

  • 50% of respondents would be comfortable to attend an indoor, in-person meeting in August.
  • 54% of respondents would be comfortable to attend an indoor, in-person meeting in September.
  • For both questions, 30% of respondents were unsure.
  • 68% of respondents would like CAPA to routinely offer an option to attend remotely.

Considering the responses, CAPA Central, SW CAPA, and SE CAPA will meet remotely in August. CAPA Central and SW CAPA will also be remote in September. We are also exploring the option of offering a remote option for future in-person meetings.

Thank you to everyone who participated. We’ll keep you informed as we have more information.

Trevann Rogers, Vice President, CAPA

Trevann Rogers writes rock star romances, urban fantasy, and LGBT paranormal romances. She lives in Connecticut with Molly and Toby, two rescue puppies, and Lil Monkey, a sock monkey who thinks he’s real. Trevann’s work incorporates an unquenchable addiction to music and her love for vampires, Weres, incubi and rock stars. She writes long after the sun goes down because like these elusive creatures, she learned long ago that sometimes being yourself means Living After Midnight. You can find links to all of her Internet spaces here:

TikTok for Authors? Yes!

Could You? Would You? Should You?

No, you didn’t land in a Dr. Seuss story. These are just three questions anyone considering using the social media platform known as TikTok might be asking themselves. In this post, we’re not talking just anyone, we’re talking authors. But before we answer those Seussian questions, let’s talk about what TikTok is.

Just about everyone has at least heard of the social media giants: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. But there’s a understandable chance you may not know about this new giant of social media because it was mainly geared toward kids up until about March of 2020. That’s when pandemic-housebound bored adults “discovered” the video-creation based app for themselves… and promptly took over. Now, with an estimated one BILLION users, it is truly a social media giant.

The Lowdown

TikTok video makers (called “creators”) create 7 to 60 second (for select creators, up to 3 minute) videos on just about anything imaginable. From comedy sketches to tutorials, acting and singing, lip synching… and on and on. 

The Basic Steps of TikTok:

  • Download the app.
  • Create a user account (as you would on other social media apps). As an author intending on using the app to build your brand/presence/following, you’ll want to use the same username across all social media accounts. (*I did not quite follow that recommendation for various reasons).
  • Sign up with either a “pro” account or “business” account for more capabilities. There are no fees to use the app or any of the services.
  • Create a video either within the app or on secondary recording platform (your cellphone camera is fine) then upload when satisfied with outcome.

There is, of course, much more to TikTok than the above. Understanding the algorithm, use of hashtags, trending sounds, etc. I highly recommend following @themrspetersen to learn all things TikTok (and social media marketing in general).

When I post videos relating to my “author life” I do so in a variety of ways. here are some that may be helpful to you.

The Upside of Using TikTok

  • It’s yet another free platform to self-promote.
  • It allows a unique outlet for self expression.
  • It’s fun and entertaining.
  • Huge opportunity to grow your fanbase

The Downside of Using TikTok

  • Exposing yourself to the “trolls” aka mean, nasty people with nothing better to do than insult strangers on the internet. You MUST have a thick skin for this app.

That’s the only downside I can come up with. The easiest solution is delete and block them should they pop up in your comment section. Understand that, no matter what you do or how you do it, someone will always have a criticism about it. Don’t let negative people have power over you. If you want to do this, but feel hesitant or lack the confidence, I highly recommend reading The Four Agreements

Now, to answer those three questions. Should you? Heck, yes! I mean, why not? If your hurdle is that you don’t want to show your face… you don’t have to! Would you? Okay, I can’t actually answer that one. Only you can. Could you? Of course, you can! The only things stopping you are lack of Tik Tok knowledge (easy to get) and confidence (takes practice and patience). The simple answer is, if you want to do it, do it.

See the source image

Tips For Success

  • Be consistent! Post one to three videos daily (you can schedule them ahead of time now)
  • Be patient. Growing a following rarely happens overnight (but it can). I started in July 2020 and as of this post have 38.4K followers. Whereas on Facebook, I’ve had an active author profile foe YEARS with only 928 followers.
  • Make good quality videos – good lighting (get yourself a ring light and thank me later)
  • Use relevant hashtags
  • Have FUN

Happy Tik Tokking! Have questions? Leave a comment!

Elsa Kurt is a multi-genre, traditionally & self-published author of over twenty-five books. She is also a speaker and creator of Path To Authorship, coaching for new and aspiring authors and CAPA Secretary. Thanks to her fabulous ADHD, she also designs several apparel lines, took up roller skating, and is pressuring her long-suffering husband for a fourth dog. For more tips, insights, and observations on the author’s life, visit Elsa HEREFor all of Elsa’s links, visit HERE.

Interested in becoming more involved with CAPA? We’d love to hear from you! Click HERE to contact us. Be sure to check out our upcoming events HERE, too!

Signs You May Have Imposter Syndrome

Imagine: You’ve written and published your first book. It’s out in the universe, available on Amazon – freaking Amazon, man – and you’re at a dinner party. Someone says to you “So, what do you do?” Is your answer:

A) I’m an author. I’ve just published my first book, actually.

B) Oh, um, well, I’m a ____, and I ____, and , [mumbles] oh, I wrote a book, so, yeah…”

Can you guess which one I said? Spoiler: It was B. If you asked me back then (a whopping seven years ago) why I didn’t get my brag on, I’d probably have mumbled something about it not really being a big deal, since I’d self-published it. In fact, that became my follow-up response. It sounded like this:

“Blah, blah, blah. Oh, and I wrote a book. But it’s not that big a deal, it’s self-published and anyone can do it, so whatever.”

Ugh, right? Are you cringing on my behalf? Thank you.

Flash forward a few years, and poof, this term appears in my peripheral. Imposter Syndrome. Right away, I think, hmm, this might be interesting. Not sure what Imposter Syndrome is? Here you go: 

[A] psychological phenomenon, known as impostor syndrome, reflects a belief that you’re an inadequate and incompetent failure, despite evidence that indicates you’re skilled and quite successful.

MELODY WILDING—THE MUSE

I read that and thought, “Yep. Bingo.” I had this feeling of, who am I to think I could write a book worth reading? And then comparing it against every book written in the history of the written word. I exaggerate… but not by much.

Granted, it didn’t stop me from writing nearly a dozen more books. Nor will it ever stop me. But… it’s always there. That little voice that hisses, who do you think you are?

Flash Forward Again…

A couple of years ago, I was asked to join a small panel of authors for a workshop at the New England Author’s Expo (Check this fun YouTube interview I did. Warning: NSFW). Before my insecurities could stop me, I said yes. Again, Imposter Syndrome thoughts dominated one side of my brain, but fortunately, my husband ruled the other. As usual, he gave me the best advice (and pep talk). 

He reminded me of my actual accomplishments, the relatively short length of time it took to get to that point, and the fact that I knew what the hell I was talking about because I was speaking about my own experiences. He said, “Talk about what you know and don’t be afraid to not know the answer to something. If it’s out of your realm of experience, say so.”

As it happened, I did what he said, and I fell in love with public speaking (about this topic I adore). Crazy, right? Anyone who’s ever known me throughout my life would’ve said, no way. I lived in my happy, safe little bubble with no intentions of stepping out of it… until I did. 

It wasn’t the applause (got it, thanks) or the laughs (appropriately timed, thanks). It was the girl in the second row, nodding her head and leaning forward to hear what I had to say. It was her, and every her or him out there who needs to hear what I’m saying so that they can pursue their dream.

(By the way, the “girl” is a grown woman & accomplished author herself, doing great things with her craft. Check her out HERE) 

I’ve said it often, I’m contrary by nature. A being ruled by dueling emotions. One who must do the opposite of what’s expected at all times. Not a weird brag, just a fact. What’s more, I think many of us are like that. And I’ll bet all of us have that damnable little voice asking, Who do you think you are, at one time or another (usually when we least want to hear it). You just need another voice – a louder one – shouting to you that you’ve got this

Imposter Syndrome – though not recognized as an actual medical condition – is a very real, often paralyzing emotional response to fear and insecurity.  Are you being held back from striving toward your goal because of crippling self-doubt and insecurity? If so, I recommend reading the article, link HERE

Need help getting and staying on your path? Let’s chat.  Schedule your FREE consultation HERE

xo Elsa

Elsa Kurt is a multi-genre, traditionally & self-published author of over twenty-five books. She is also a speaker and creator of Path To Authorship, coaching for new and aspiring authors. Thanks to her fabulous ADHD, she also designs several apparel lines, took up roller skating, and is pressuring her long-suffering husband for a fourth dog. For more tips, insights, and observations on the author’s life, visit Elsa HEREFor all of Elsa’s links, visit HERE.

Interested in becoming more involved with CAPA? We’d love to hear from you! Click HERE to contact us. Be sure to check out our upcoming events HERE, too!

Share this:

5,4,3,2,1… Launch Your Book

Congratulations!

You did it. You actually did it. Has it sunk in yet? You said you were going to write a book, and you wrote a mother trucking book. You poured your heart and energy and God given (or hard gained) talent into it. So, um, now what?

Clapping GIF by Steve Harvey TV - Find & Share on GIPHY

Say It Loud, Say It Proud

If a writer publishes a book, and no one knows it, are they really an author? (You saw what I did there, right?)

If the answer is, “Yes, but I haven’t really told many people,” then…

  • Don’t you want people to know?
  • Don’t you want to sell books?
  • Don’t you want to celebrate your accomplishment?

I have to assume the answer is yes to all the above. Otherwise, this post is pointless. However, I totally get it if you’re emotionally (and maybe financially drained from pouring all your focus into the writing and publishing process and thereby pushed off the promoting part. It probably feels daunting. Overwhelming. Exhausting.

By the way, if you plan on writing another book, be sure to take advantage of my FREE Write>Publish>Promote Timeline to help you prepare.

I Got You Babe GIFs | Tenor

Let’s DO This

We’re going to treat this as though you’re at ground zero of this phase. Anything you’ve already done (or refuse to do), just give it a mental CHECK & move on.

  1. Create an Author Page across social media & a VIP group for your readers on Facebook. Yes, even if you hate social media and never use it in your personal life. If you want to sell books, you need to have a presence.
  2. Ask your ENTIRE friends list to LIKE, FOLLOW, and SHARE your author page. INVITE potential readers to join your members only group. Offer incentives.
  3. Start with a teaser & a cover reveal. Hype it for a few days or week, count it down like  the major event it is! Use Canva for AMAZING graphics
  4. Post something relevant (not always a BUY MY BOOK grab) 2-5 times a week. Blurbs, behinds the scenes tidbits & fun facts. Let readers get to know you & build interest in your book.
  5. Pop into your group once a week and give them some love. Even if there are only two people. They get first peeks, insider info, and freebies. Free books for honest reviews is what you’re looking for.
  6. Have a website to direct them to. 
  7. Consider blogging on your website.
  8. Get business cards, bookmarks and/or other marketing materials that can be given away.
  9. Talk about you book to people. DO NOT give them the synopsis!!  But DO be animated and concise about your story.

You’d be surprised how easy it is to slip your author status into conversation. If they bite the hook & ask about it, have your “elevator pitch” ready.

How to Master the Elevator Pitch

But Wait, There’s More!

Don’t forget to create your profiles and claim your book(s) on BookBubAmazon, and Goodreads (Click each link to see mine for examples). This is important because this is where readers go to find their next favorite book to read. Be there!

Zooey Deschanel New Girl GIF - ZooeyDeschanel NewGirl Awkward ...

Fear Not…

Okay, more realistically, swallow the fear and promote yourself despite it. Remember, you’ve done something others have only dreamed of doing (or can’t even imagine doing!) 

xo Elsa

*Some of the links within the post are affiliate links from which I may be compensated.

** For a master list of my favorite author finds (also affiliate links) click HERE.

Elsa Kurt is a multi-genre, traditionally & self-published author of over twenty-five books. She is also a speaker and creator of Path To Authorship, coaching for new and aspiring authors. Thanks to her fabulous ADHD, she also designs several apparel lines, took up roller skating, and is pressuring her long-suffering husband for a fourth dog. For more tips, insights, and observations on the author’s life, visit Elsa HEREFor all of Elsa’s links, visit HERE.

Interested in becoming more involved with CAPA? We’d love to hear from you! Click HERE to contact us. Be sure to check out our upcoming events HERE, too!

What No One Tells You About Publishing

See the source image

I’m not saying it’s really a secret, but it also isn’t the first thing authors talk about when discussing their books. In fairness, why should it be? We want to tell you about our book, not how it got published! Now, if we’re specifically asked…we’ll talk your head off. Kidding(ish).

It’s actually a mixed bag of responses and all depending on how the author feels about their publishing platform. Traditionally published authors – meaning published by a publishing house who does NOT ask you to pay ANY money to them to publish your book – will immediately, proudly, and occasionally even snobbishly tell you, “I’m traditionally published.”

Why? Because having a publishing house offer you a contract for your life’s blood, your precious, your darling manuscript, means Someone Of Importance sees value in your work. All was not for naught. You, like the Velveteen Rabbit, are now real.

So, what about self-published authors? Well, that’s different. Self-publishing has gotten a bad (and in some ways, deserved) rap. The glory and the bane of it is this: Anyone Can Self-Publish. Great for aspiring/wanna-be authors, not so great for the writing (and reading) community

The Good. Several of my mentees are seniors who’ve been working -sometimes on and off – for many years to bring to life their story. They feel their time is limited and the query submissions process is too long. They want their work out now so they can actually see it. They’ve been thorough: hired editors, proofreaders, cover designers, and the like. They are as ready as anyone can be and they deserve to see their book baby born. This is where self-publishing is wonderful.

Why else it’s good: Assuming you 1) take the steps, do the things, and create a body of work that possesses the 8 elements of a story and 2)  it is well told and 3) have a professional-looking cover design, self-publishing is a great platform. Especially if you’re a control freak and need to call all the shots. I may, ahem, know someone like that. (*Raises hand)

Why it’s not so good. Well, a million self-published books are out there. No, literally. In 2017 one million books were self-published. That’s a lot of  “competition” and doesn’t even factor in the ones traditionally published… who can also bankroll advertising and promotion. Ouch.

Another reason it’s a drag: You wear all the hats, my friend. All. The. Hats. Writer, publisher, advertiser, social media strategist, webmaster, public relations, booker, event coordinator, graphic designer… shall I go on? Again, if you’re a control freak (like me) and LOVE to do all the things (like me) it’s all good. If not, and you want more than your family and bestest friends to see and buy your book… you have some scales to weigh.

So, then, traditional publishing is the way to go, right? Whoa, whoa, slow your roll! Honestly? Both are awesome. And awful. Are you hating me right now?  Sorry, man. I’m just trying to give you a well-bodied glass here. I can’t tell you what the best thing is for you. All I can tell you is that I’ve done both and they each have pros and cons.

My best experience with traditional publishing: Pshhh. Bragging rights. I love saying I’m traditionally published for the aforementioned reasons. Street cred, baby.

My worst experience with traditional publishing. I’ve tossed that label, control freak, out a few times with good reason. Signing to the terms of their contract (I did) meant I had to relinquish say in some major aspects of my book. Everything was fine… except for their choice in cover. I. Hate. It. Yes, I’ll show you…

Don’t get me wrong. It’s a lovely couple. Pretty font. But this cover doesn’t even vaguely represent the story of Mae’s Cafe and the Welcome to Chance series.  I asked them to at least throw a coffee cup in there. The declined. What’s my drama about this cover, you ask? You see, Welcome to Chance is a small town saga. Like Friday Night Lights, Parenthood, Gilmore Girls, This Is Us, and the like. Not steamy, sexy heaving bosom romance. Sigh. To their credit, they redeemed things a bit with the second book’s cover, this one for Rosabelle’s Way. They captured the quirky Rosabelle perfectly with that silly hat…

Oh, and for book three, Georgie’s Secret, I got the reins back completely:

*It should be noted I was/am un-agented & this was a small publishing house, not part of the Big Five and offered no advance.

Now, my best experience with self-publishing: Ah, so much. The learning process, the (yep) control, the personal pride in knowing I did all of this, on my own. I discovered my capabilities – ones I’d never before imagined – and learned new skills, and fell in love with those new skills. The not submitting query after query. The waiting and waiting to publish.

And, my worst experience with self-publishing: Mistakes. I’ve made a few. Okay, fine, a lot. Listen, I jumped in face first. I had to learn as I went, which often meant redoing things, doing them backward, or not at all, starting from scratch and wasting money. My journey was bummmpy. But, I love itIt’s brought me to this place, right here, where I can help aspiring and new authors avoid the mistakes I made. I will (and have) throw myself under the bus, share my most cringe-worthy errors, in order to help you on your writing journey.

How do you decide? 

  • Assess your goals. What do you envision happening with this book? Bestsellers list? A keepsake for friends and family? A steady income from the sales?
  • Assess your skills and willingness to learn new ones.
  • Decide how you’ll feel about saying ‘I’m self-published’ or ‘I’m traditionally published’
  • Consider how long you’re willing to wait to see your efforts come to fruition.

Here’s the thing, though. Oh, and it’s good. You can do both. I know, I know, someone has told you you cannot. They, Are. Wrong. How do I know? Living proof, baby. Those first two books in my Welcome to Chance series – Mae’s Cafe and Rosabelle’s Way – were originally self-published. I decided on a whim to submit them to a small publisher for consideration (telling them up front they’d been previously self-pub) and they offered contracts. Boom.

In conclusion, the they‘s are always going to tell you what you can’t do. They’ll say there are rules, here, buddy. I’m telling you, screw their rules. You want that baby out in the universe? Put her out there. If you decide, damn, maybe I do want to be traditionally published? Hone your query skills and send that baby out there, too. Just make sure you follow the submission guidelines for each publisher. These are rules that really do need to be followed. 

Happy writing! xo

Elsa Kurt is a multi-genre, traditionally & self-published author of over twenty-five books. She is also a speaker and creator of Path To Authorship, coaching for new and aspiring authors. Thanks to her fabulous ADHD, she also designs several apparel lines, took up roller skating, and is pressuring her long-suffering husband for a fourth dog. For more tips, insights, and observations on the author’s life, visit Elsa HEREFor all of Elsa’s links, visit HERE.

Join CAPA Today!

Become a CAPA member and join a wonderful, supportive community of writers, authors, and publishers. Whether a new, established, or emerging writer (or publisher) you’re welcome to join us at meetings, events, and much more. Join HERE.

The 8 Week Novel

Can you really write a novel in 8 weeks? And why would you?! The questions (and answers) aren’t as crazy as you might think.

See the source image

The short answers are…

Yes, and why not?

The longer, better, less black and white answer is this…

If 1) you have many stories in your head tapping a figurative foot for you to get moving already, 2) your long term goal is to have an extensive body of work out into the universe 3) you plan on making writing your career… You might want to buckle down and make a doable plan. (No, it doesn’t mean write a new book every eight weeks.)

Here She Goes Again About Word Count Goals…

I’ve written and spoken many times about word count and word count goals, so if you need clarity, check out this post. Personally, I set my WCG at 2000 words per writing session. I typically write five days a week. Therefore, at this pace, I will have about 10,000 words at the end of each week. Basic math (the extent of my skills) says that in eight weeks, I’ll have 80,000 words… ie: a novel. See? Not impossible!

*The average novel is between 65,000 words and 85,000 words, and count varies by genre.

Mind you, I rarely push myself that intensely, and complete rough drafts in about four months. In the case of Rosabelle’s Way (book two in Welcome to Chance) I did complete it in 8 weeks since I wanted it released by a certain date and proximity to the release of book one. The rest of the series released four months apart. In any case, this was how I discovered I could write a novel in 8 weeks.

Full Disclosure…

This end of eight weeks manuscript is far from ready to publish. It’s a first draft. It will go through rounds of self edits before a proofer or beta reader ever see it (let alone an editor). It’s also relevant to note that I’m not writing the next War and Peace.

To state the obvious, this takes commitment, perseverance, and dedication. It also takes a well-thought out plan of action. If you’re willing to put the time and effort in, you absolutely can get there. If you can let go of the self critiquing, doubting, and second guessing and permit yourself to just write the damn story (good, bad, indifferent be damned)… You can absolutely get there.

Here are the steps of completing a WIP within a time constraint.

  • Determine a completion date & final word count goal
  • Calculate number of words per day to accomplish goal
  • Designate time and place for writing
  • Stick to the plan
  • Oh, and write!

*This process may come easier to pansters (those who simply sit down and write) than plotters (those who outline & research prior to writing).

See the source image

But Wait…

Now, this isn’t some kind of rule or common expectation. Many well-established (and well-known) authors write anywhere from one to four novels a year. Many have only written one or two in a lifetime. There is no right or wrong. In my case, the goal was to be a prolific author, with a large body of work. My long game plan is to have published 100 books within ten years. Why? No idea. I guess I just like goal setting, maybe?

It is totally okay and perfectly normal to take months and years to complete your manuscript (check out this guided writing journal by our own Liz Delton HERE). Particularly if your genre is literary, science, or historical fiction. The only thing that’s not okay, is putting off your dream for fear/doubt, lack of confidence, or procrastination. Remember, your first draft is never, ever perfect. So, stop expecting or hoping for it to be!

Join Elsa For A LIVE Virtual Path To Authorship Event on April 20th, 7pm. For Info & Sign up Click HERE

Elsa Kurt is a multi-genre, traditionally & self-published author of over twenty-five books. She is also a speaker and creator of Path To Authorship, coaching for new and aspiring authors. Thanks to her fabulous ADHD, she also designs several apparel lines, took up roller skating, and is pressuring her long-suffering husband for a fourth dog. For more tips, insights, and observations on the author’s life, visit Elsa HEREFor all of Elsa’s links, visit HERE.

Join CAPA Today!

Become a CAPA member and join a wonderful, supportive community of writers, authors, and publishers. Whether a new, established, or emerging writer (or publisher) you’re welcome to join us at meetings, events, and much more. Join HERE.

Post to the CAPA Blog

With the launch of the new CAPA website, we’ve created the CAPA Communications Blog. The CAPA Communications Blog is a place where members can share your writing and publishing stories, tell us about your latest book, share your expertise to help your fellow authors and publishers navigate the writing and publishing process, get information from CAPA members on writing, editing, publishing, and marketing, and get updates on the latest CAPA and industry news.

Posting to the CAPA Communications Blog is open to all CAPA members. We’re actively seeking blog posts from CAPA members. If you are interested in posting to the blog, please submit your post as a Word document to CAPA PR director Bill Hettinger at drbillhettinger@gmail.com and he’ll take it from there. Blog posts should be between 200 and 1,000 words. Feel free to include some brief bio information and links back to your book or website.   

Once your blog is posted, you can share, post, and tweet, on your favorite social media platforms. This will help build the Google and social media credibility for both you and CAPA.

Not currently interested in submitting a blog post? You can still get an email each time a new blog is posted. Just go the CAPA Communications page on the CAPA website (https://ctauthorsandpublishers.com/member-news/), scroll down to the bottom of the page and enter your email to subscribe.

To Blog or Not To Blog?

That is the question

For some writers, at least. In fact, one of the first questions my clients ask me is, “Should I start a blog?” My response usually is, “Do you want to start a blog?” And no, I’m not being snarky. It’s a valid question & the answer to that is how I determine the best route forward for the client. Let’s say that…

No, I Do Not Want To Start A Blog

Okay, fair enough. Since this isn’t a real conversation, I’ll give you the most common reasons for why you may not want to start a blog.

  • I don’t know what to write about.
  • Aren’t there enough bloggers already?
  • I’m not a very “techie” person.
  • I don’t have time to do all that.

My solutions to the above are…

What to write about: Anything you damn well please… that speaks to the audience you’re aiming for. It’s not as tricky as you might think. I use two rules of thumb when I write blog posts: 1) I write what I want to read. And 2) I write what’s relevant to the people I’m trying to attract.

Technically, I have two separate blogs within one website. One is titled simply, ” Elsa’s Blog” and is where I share on more of a personal nature –  things that affect and matter to me on a social, emotional, and spiritual level. Here, I take the conscious risk of being off-putting to some readers. Why do I do it then? One word: authenticity. 

Someone asked me once if I was afraid of pushing away prospective readers who might disagree or dislike some of my viewpoints. Short answer: no. The longer answer is a bit more complex. I really don’t want to alienate anyone or push them away. But – there’s always a but – I also know no one is everyone’s cup of tea. If you try to please or appease everyone, you will fail miserably… and be miserable. The older I get, the more I agree with Sir Anthony Hopkins:

See the source image

There’s no rule here. You can choose to play it safe, be hearts and butterflies and have inspiration ooze from your pores. That is totally fine, and welcome in these crazy times. Or, you can choose to write about topics that matter to you with passion and fire. OR, you can evolve from one to the other as you develop your style. It’s okay to be a work in progress!

In my For Writers blog, I focus entirely on the topics of writing, publishing, and promoting. Here, I keep my beliefs and personal opinions to myself. No one reading the PTA blog gives a flying fig what I think about the current social climate or what my spiritual journey is, nor should I expect them to. We are all about the craft in here, friends. (However, if you are curious about the other stuff, click HERE)

As to whether we’re saturated with bloggers: yes… and no. Meaning, yeah, there’s a ton of bloggers out there. A TON. But that’s not reason enough to not do your own thing. Even if your “voice” is similar to someone else’s, it’s still relevant to someone. It’s about expressing yourself creatively for the joy and contentment it brings you and may bring to others.

Not techie? That’s okay. There are several blogging platforms that make it easy and painless… and dare I even say FUN to build your blogging platform. FYI, I use WordPress with Bluehost as my website host. I use Canva to design my graphics (and everything else!!)

As for time, that slippery rascal? Typically, writing a blog post takes me about an hour. Longer if I have no ever-loving idea of what I want to write about. Remember, I’m a pantser, so I usually wing it. But for you plotters (or especially time constraint bound) there’s a “cheat sheet” of sorts I use to help activate my brain box. It’s technically a social media calendar, but it’s a great idea source. Another option is to do a simple search online, like, “blog post ideas” to get the ideas flowing. If time is an issue for you, then planning and organization is key.

So, If I’ve Convinced You To Blog….

And you’re thinking, I don’t know where to start, no worries. It’s relatively simple, thanks to the many blog platforms available. As I mentioned above, I use WordPress hosted by Bluehost.

I’ve used them since day one (about five years ago) and have never had an issue they didn’t resolve quickly and painlessly. There are tons of customizable themes and are easy to work with. Blogger and Wix are very easy to use, but I have too little experience with them to judge fairly.  Check out each platform and see if what they have to offer suits you.

Once you pick one, set up your blog theme in your choice of colors, fonts and style… and start writing!

If I missed something you’d like to know about blogging, drop your question in the comments. Or, if you’d like one on one help with this, schedule a session!

Elsa Kurt is a multi-genre, traditionally & self-published author of over twenty-five books. She is also a speaker and creator of Path To Authorship, coaching for new and aspiring authors. Thanks to her fabulous ADHD, she also designs several apparel lines, took up roller skating, and is pressuring her long-suffering husband for a fourth dog. For more tips, insights, and observations on the author’s life, visit Elsa HEREFor all of Elsa’s links, visit HERE.

Join CAPA Today!

Become a CAPA member and join a wonderful, supportive community of writers, authors, and publishers. Whether a new, established, or emerging writer (or publisher) you’re welcome to join us at meetings, events, and much more. Join HERE.

5 Tips For Your Elevator Pitch

What’s An Elevator Pitch?

I never like to assume everyone understands/knows these terms. While it’s a common phrase in some circles, it’s not it others. So, for those who don’t know: Your elevator pitch (in this case) is you “selling” yourself & your book to a potential reader in a short time… as in under two minutes. 

See the source image

But How Do I Tell Them EVERY Great Thing About My Book In Such A Short Time?

You don’t. This is a common – and relatable – mistake of novice “pitchers.” We are so excited about our story, so stoked to talk about it… that we go overboard. We fail to see the polite but impatient look in their eye, or the way they start edging away.

Now, maybe you have hooked them, and they’re listening intently as you carry them through the whole story. That’s awesome, right? They’re totally into it. Yes! But then they  don’t buy the book. Why? Well, you’ve already told them the story; they don’t need to read it.

See the source image

So, how do you master the “just right” fit for prospective readers? For one, there is no one size fits all, I’m afraid. Now,  I’ve sat alongside fellow authors who give the same exact pitch to every single person who walks by – word for word, inflection for inflection. I get it, it’s a formula the author feels comfortable & confident using. And even though it’s mind-numbing to sit next to and hear repeatedly, it’s always new to the potential reader. This may be a comfort zone for you.

In fact, we all use something of a formula, even if our “script” changes. I like to get a feel for who my potential reader is before pitching them… but that’s partly because I have twenty published books to choose from & I can often steer them toward one that is up their alley. Below are some tips to help you develop your pitch in an authentic way.

See the source image

5 TIPS FR YOUR ELEVATOR PITCH:

  • Know what to say. Think about your back cover matter/blurb. A great blurb is all about hooks. So is a great elevator pitch. Yes, they can be one and the same (or similar).

BAD: There’s these two girls. One is named Reyanne, she’s nine, and the other girl is named Shayne, she’s twelve. Shayne is kind of tall and she has light brown hair. Reyanne is skinny and blonde and she bites her nails and she’s real quiet. They live in a small town called Rocky Hill. The story starts with… and then they…. but in the end, they…

GOOD: Twelve-year-old Shayne woke up one hot August morning with only hazy memories of a traumatic event. Everyone she loves is gone except for her distant, sullen father, who’s as good as gone, too. Left to her own devices, Shayne must find a way to find what she’s lost. Nine-year-old Reyanne moves in across the street, seemingly from out of nowhere. She’s quiet and watchful and has a secret she can’t tell. She knows she’s meant to help Shayne, but how? Together, the two girls embark on an emotional journey filled with shocking revelations.

The pitch should leave the prospective reader wanting the answers to questions you’ve left them with. What was the traumatic event? Where the heck did this Reyanne girl come from? What’s her secret? What are the shocking revelations? BTW, the above is from my book Lost and Found Girls. *Fun Fact: I hate giving the pitch for this book. There’s a MASSIVE twist early in the book that I can’t tell because it’s a spoiler! So, I simply tell them exactly that.

  • Practice your pitch & time yourself. Aim for about 30-60 seconds. You want your tone to match your story’s tone. Don’t be afraid to show your enthusiasm!
  • Have a hook. Before you can pitch your story to someone, you have to get them to notice you. Many authors, including myself, like to throw out an opener like, “So, what kind of books do you like to read?” (Obviously, say hello first) This is helpful in two ways. 1) Icebreaker! 2) You find out if your book is even a possible fit for them. If they read romance and you write horror… no fit. When this is the case, do two things – casually mention your signed book makes a great gift for your horror loving friends/family member, and  direct them to your romance writing author friend. It’s just good karma, you know?
  • Get Feedback. Yes, I hate doing it, too. But have a friend, partner, or relative give your pitch a listen and see what they think.
  • Be confident! No one knows your story better than you. This is your baby & it’s okay to be proud and excited when you talk about it. Your energy impacts your results. Just because they don’t walk away with your book in hand, doesn’t mean it’s a lost sale. 

*FYI: Having your book available as an eBook (and letting them know this!) is important for when they walk away without buying. I’ve seen an uptick in eBook sales after every event.

Image result for you can do it GIF

xo Elsa

Elsa Kurt is a multi-genre, traditionally & self-published author of over twenty-five books. She is also a speaker and creator of Path To Authorship, coaching for new and aspiring authors. Thanks to her fabulous ADHD, she also designs several apparel lines, took up roller skating, and is pressuring her long-suffering husband for a fourth dog. For more tips, insights, and observations on the author’s life, visit Elsa HEREFor all of Elsa’s links, visit HERE.

Interested in becoming more involved with CAPA? We’d love to hear from you! Click HERE to contact us. Be sure to check out our upcoming events HERE, too!

Road to Adventure; Connecticut’s Indie Bookshop Trail

Karen Elizabeth Baril 

Connecticut is one of those rare places on earth that is home to dozens of independent book shops. Not just one or two, but a marvelous collection of unique book-browsing adventures.  Now that the pandemic is loosening its grip, it’s time to get out and explore the aisles of the indies. This column is first in a series to bring you to Connecticut’s bookshops, one indie at a time.   

As local authors, indies are allies in this wonderful adventure of reading and writing and publishing. It makes good sense to support your favorite bookshop, not only through purchasing books, but by encouraging others to check them out as well. Indie bookshop owners love to display new authors.   

Indie bookshops are good for the local economy with close to 73% of every dollar finding its way back into the community. Owners and staff care about books and they care about diversity, sharing a commitment to local and independent authors, showcasing books the big box stores won’t carry. 

The pandemic year was tough on independent book shops in the United States. For every week of the pandemic, one independent bookstore closed its doors forever. Why? We know why…we’ve all done it, “click!” and it’s in our shopping cart, a two day delivery. Easy, peasy. 

But, easy isn’t always satisfying. Indie bookshop owners know that book shopping is an adventure. You’re looking for the latest crime thriller and come home with a book on the cosmos.  

Adventure. Experience. You don’t get that online. Indie bookshops are good therapy.  And we need good therapy right now.

In this series, we’ll share the backstory of independently owned, brick and mortar shops; their unique flavor, down and dirty staff profiles, and fun things to do in the area, like hitting local gift shops or combining your visit with a wine tasting. 

So go ahead, venture out on a rainy spring afternoon to explore the narrow aisles of your favorite bookshop. And drop us a line. Maybe your favorite bookshop will be the next indie profile!

Karen Elizabeth Baril writes from her farm in the northwest hills of Connecticut. She is the author of dozens of articles and personal essays that have appeared in magazines throughout the U.S. and Canada. Follow her at  Karen Elizabeth Baril.